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TV OR NOT TV

Thursday, February 6, 2020
TV OR NOT TV

Tony spoke to former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez to give his views about a comparatively new development in professional golf:

“The European Tour seems to have given the green light in recent months to mid-round television interviews with the players and I have to say it’s an idea that I don’t like at all.

In fact, I think it’s insane. In my opinion it’s a real intrusion for a professional to have to do that sort of thing. It’s certainly the last thing I’d have wanted to do when I was playing and trying to maintain my own cocoon of concentration.

I don’t believe it’s an idea that should be forced on the players and I’m sure not everybody out there on tour welcomes the prospect. If it was down to me, I’d leave it to the commentators to do the commentary.

I don’t think television should be going there at all. Imagine them going up to a soccer player just before he’s about to take a crucial penalty kick and asking him what’s going through his mind? They would tell the interviewer where to go, for sure.

The players, in either golf or soccer, can give the viewers extra insight after events have unfolded, not while they are taking place. That’s why we watch, for goodness sake. We’ve got our own eyes and ears and we can monitor what’s going on out on the course, we can check out the body language of the players ourselves and draw our own conclusions from what we see and hear.

I wouldn’t ever have wanted to be a part of that when I was a player. It’s all about television trying to drive up ratings with extra gimmicks. But, for me, it’s totally unnecessary and overly intrusive.

Can you imagine if they’d have asked me what I was feeling after I missed that two-foot putt at The Open in 1972 to hand Lee Trevino the lead with one hole remaining? My response would have been bleeped out, I can tell you.

Imagine going down the stretch at The Open or The Masters and a player is suddenly interrupted for a minute or two to explain how he’s feeling, or to give a description of what he’s about to do next? It’s a terrible idea. Everyone deserves the right to focus on what he or she is doing when they are going about their professional business.

Television could be responsible for breaking a player’s concentration at a critical time in the white-hot heat of battle. It’s none of their business as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t mind that sort of thing for pro-celebrity tournaments because that’s a totally different animal. It’s a format made for television and in that context the players are entertaining a different audience.

They’ve started bringing in the gimmicks for the Presidents Cup too, I notice, with the two captains employing a new approach to announce their match-ups and pairings in Melbourne last year.

I’ve heard it said that they should try the same in the Ryder Cup. Give me a break! The Ryder Cup certainly doesn’t need to take any sort of lessons from the Presidents Cup. That would be like putting the cart before the horse.

There’s absolutely no need to go tinkering with anything in the Ryder Cup. In that competition, it’s a case of, if it ain’t broke, why on earth would you want to go trying to fix it?“